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Sheriff’s Office provides students with supplies

This fall, students coming to Southwestern Elementary School will have what they need to start the school year out strong.

The Sheriff’s Office donated about 70 backpacks full of school supplies and other items to Southwestern Elementary School for students to have a successful school year. In order to make this happen, the Sheriff’s Office had help from prominent community members.

Kathy Kenda is known in the community for her involvement in many local programs, including Project Life Saver. Kenda and Pam King started providing backpacks and supplies to Suffolk Public Schools at the beginning of the year a few years ago. During their second year, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office decided to jump in and help.

This year, Kenda purchased a large majority of the backpacks for the donation. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office received a gift card donation from Target that accounted for about 17 of the bookbags, with Kenda providing the rest.

“Usually, Kathy Kenda provides the backpacks and we provide the school supplies,” said Katie Jones, community engagement coordinator for Suffolk Sheriff’s Department.

To get these supplies, the Sheriff’s Office received a generous donation from Walmart on North Main Street. As a result, the students will receive not only needed school supplies but also toiletry items, including toothbrushes, toothpaste and hand sanitizer.

This donation was separate from the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office’s annual school supply drive during tax-free weekend. The Sheriff’s Office donated the supplies collected at that event to seven churches across Suffolk to help more students get a head start for the school year.

“We just want to give the kids a successful back-to-school,” said Jones. “Everyone’s purse strings are tight lately, and we want to make sure the students have supplies for a successful school year. Also, it helps gives them a bit of confidence.”